Teachers "will not be impressed” by education secretary Gavin Williamon’s praise for their efforts during the Covid pandemic during a speech today, a union leader has said.
Mr Williamson gave a pre-recorded address to members of the NASUWT teaching union at its annual conference taking place online this weekend.
He said improved teacher training would be "central" to the Covid catch-up plan which he is drawing up with education recovery commissioner Sir Kevan Collins.
But NASUWT general sectary Patrick Roach said: “Teachers didn’t get any training when schools were shut last March about what to do next and they had to work it out for themselves and they didn’t get any training during the height of the pandemic…now we’re being told that teachers have to be either more competent or resilient but actually teachers have demonstrated their competence. They’ve demonstrated their resilience, and they’ve been tested to the limit and they haven’t been found wanting .
He added: "What I would have wanted to have heard from the secretary of state was a recognition of that. But it’s just more training for teachers as if somehow teachers were part of the problem. That’s not the reality we’re seeing.
"Teachers now need practical support to enable them to continue in the job that they’re doing and for that job to be sustainable.”
Mr Williamson, in his speech, thanked teachers for the “inspiring way” they switched to remote learning during the pandemic and for their efforts in keeping everyone in their school and wider communities safe through overseeing safety measures, including administering lateral flow tests.
But Dr Roach added: “NASUWT members will not be impressed by the Education Secretary’s praise of teachers whilst he fails to address the many serious issues impacting on their morale and working conditions and whilst also continuing to insist that teachers’ pay should be frozen this year.”